Specialist housing providers urged to move on digital telecare solutions

Specialist housing providers need to digitally upgrade at a faster pace to make sure people using support services have access to reliable telecare.

Both the telecare industry and housing providers using telecare need to ensure they are ready for the digital switchover in 2025. As the cut-off date approaches, a briefing paper by Appello in association with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) said specialist housing providers needed to safeguard critical services.

Appello, a digital telecare and technology enabled care provider, published its Fast Forward to Digital report with Housing LIN in 2017, which looked at attitudes to digital telecare in the supported housing sector. The briefing paper is a follow-up document.

Data showed an estimated 125 housing developments are upgraded to digital every month. From June 2022, there were 42 months remaining until the end of 2025, when the digital switch should be complete.

If the rate of upgrades continued at the same pace, 6,250 developments would be completed by 2025, including the number already done. However, with approximately 25,000 developments in the UK, this is ‘substantially below’ the target and only 25% of the requirement to ensure all customers have a safe, reliable alarm system.

The paper said around 18,000 developments will have live safety equipment that is not fit for purpose by 2025. This leaves approximately 750,000 older and disabled people reliant on an emergency alarm system that fails 10% of the time for first time calls, and this failure rate is likely to grow over the next three years.

Jeremy Porteus, Housing LIN chief executive, said: ‘The 2025 digital switchover is a significant moment in time for telecare services. Housing providers, both general and specialist including extra care housing, retirement living, or supported housing will need to be aware of the changes and how they can help their customers.

‘It’s important that the sector explores product development in smart housing, telecare and digital technology that supports service improvement and therefore transforms the delivery of at home care and support services and does so quickly.’